Life sentence for murder in Mableton

photo of Cobb Superior Court building from the front with a blue sky with clouds in the background

Francisco Javier Madera, 33, of Atlanta, was sentenced to life in prison for a 2017 murder in a mobile home park in Mableton.

A press release from the office of Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes describes the incident as follows:

In the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 14, 2017, several people were gathered in and around a residence on Winnstead Drive, in the Waverly Mobile Home Park in Mableton. The defendant and his victim, Juan Carlos Zambrano Canales, 27, had met for the first time at the gathering, and nothing seemed amiss. But after awhile, witnesses said, the defendant began getting argumentative and Zambrano said something along the lines of “relax chiqui,” a Spanish word meaning “little one.” A verbal altercation ensued that later turned physical. Realizing Madera was the one causing problems, a witness asked him to leave the party and walked him to his car. Madera got into his vehicle and began to leave. He then stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road and returned to the party with a handgun. Madera proceeded to shoot Zambrano, who was unarmed and barefoot, three times, striking him in the abdomen and back.

Zambrano was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he died during treatment.

A nurse testifying at the trial said that a major vein was punctured by the gunshots.

Madera fled the scene and was captured two days later in Arkansas by U.S. Marshals and the Little Rock Police Department.

“The evidence showed that this defendant murdered Carlos Zambrano over nothing more than a girl and the word ‘chiqui,’” said Cobb Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Green, who prosecuted the case with ADA Erman Tanjuatco. “His actions were that of a cold-blooded killer.”

The sentence was handed down by Cobb County Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard.

The Cobb County Police Department handled the investigation.